She’s 17. She’s writing a novel. And she does rodeos.
This only scratches the surface of Dishman Hills High School senior Kalaya Volmar.
Volmar has an assortment of interests ranging from powwows on the reservation to special effects zombie makeup. But her interests aren’t what drive her. It’s her dreams.
“I want to fix the world somehow. I want to do something that’s going to impact others in a positive way, like either involving global warming or politics,” Volmar said.
Another dream is to one day be a marine biologist. Her goal is to attend Nova Southeastern University in Florida – a university known for its outstanding oceanography program. But first Volmar hopes to attend Washington State University or Eastern Washington University to obtain her undergraduate degree.
The challenge is that most colleges require two years of foreign language classes, which Dishman Hills doesn’t offer. But Volmar has that problem figured out.
“For two months this summer I’m going to go stay at a traditional language house – I can’t leave for two months and I can only speak Salish,” she said.
Volmar says Native American heritage has become a big part of who she is and she’s looking forward to the experience. When she was 10, she attended an all-Native boarding school.
“That’s where I learned what it meant to be Native American and accept your heritage and just learned about all of the stories and traditions,” Volmar said.
Cheri Osmuss, a teacher at Dishman Hills, said Volmar is one of a kind.
“She just has a unique personality, she works really hard – she has an aura about her that brings a lot of positivity,” Osmuss said.
Volmar is also a student representative for the school board.
“Everyone really respects her. The board really respects her, you can tell,” Osmuss said.
But that’s not the only leadership role Volmar has taken on. She also is a hardworking member of Dishman Hills’ Associated Student Body.
“She goes around to all the classes and talks about what they’re doing and making sure that everyone knows about everything that’s going on,” Osmuss said.
Kathy George, another teacher at Dishman Hills, said Volmar leads by example.
“She has ideas. And she knows how to carry them through. A lot of kids will come up with a great idea but they don’t know what to do with it,” George said. “Kalaya will come up with an idea, she’ll plan, she’ll say, ‘Well, let’s do this.’ She can organize her thoughts and her planning to have a follow-through,” George said.
George also said that it’s Volmar’s caring demeanor and positivity that inspire so many others.
She looks forward to a bright future.
“Coming from all the things that I’ve went through, I know that for a fact that I can overcome it and shoot past the stars and be something big. I know that for a fact,” Volmar said.
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